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Nigeria Credit-Rating Outlook Cut To Negative At Fitch, Cited Falling Oil Prices & Rising Political Risks

by Chukwu Obi & Agency Reports

Nigeria’s credit-rating outlook was cut to negative by Fitch Ratings, which cited falling oil prices and rising political risks amid tightly contested presidential and legislative elections in Africa’s largest economy, Bloomberg reports.

Fitch affirmed Nigeria’s BB- rating, three steps below investment grade. Standard & Poor’s lowered Nigeria one level to B+, four rungs below investment grade, on March 20. Voting opened on Saturday against the backdrop of a six-year insurgency waged by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, and was extended for a second day at about 300 of the more than 100,000 polling points where officials arrived late or equipment failed.

“Political uncertainty is heightened in the context of a tightly contested presidential election and potential transition issues,” Fitch said in a statement. “Fiscal and external buffers have been eroded significantly as Nigeria enters a period of lower oil prices.”

Nigerians are awaiting the release of official results from the vote, with tensions mounting in the key oil-producing Rivers state where the main opposition party alleged the vote was rigged. The poll, the closest since the West African country ended army rule in 1999, pits President Goodluck Jonathan, a 57-year-old Christian from the oil-rich Niger River delta, against a united opposition led by former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, a 72-year-old northern Muslim who lost four years ago.


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